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Landowner Willingness to Supply Timber for Biofuel: Results of an Alabama Survey of Family Forest Landowners

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A key factor determining the potential for development of cellulosic bioenergy in the southeastern United States (the South) will be the availability of feedstock, which in turn depends on landowner willingness to direct timber production to biomass rather than existing markets or nonmarket uses. Most timberland in this region is owned by family forest landowners whose forest management objectives are varied. This study evaluates the conditions under which family forest landowners from Lee County, Alabama, would be willing to supply wood biomass energy feedstock for a prospective local biofuel industry. Using standard survey methodology, a questionnaire was mailed to every family forest landowner of 20 or more acres of forestland in Lee County, resulting in 363 valid responses and a response rate of 41%. Results indicate that most family forest landowners are willing to supply both timber and harvest residues for production of biofuels and that such willingness is positively correlated with the number of acres owned, the existence of an effective market, and the opportunity to contribute to local economic development and global climate change. Three-quarters of all respondents indicated willingness to manage their land for biomass production, compared with 43% of respondents who actively manage their land at present.

Keywords: bioenergy; biomass; family forest landowner; forest management; harvest residues

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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